As I probably already said, I love to eat soups for dinner, and this is definitely great 🙂 it’s thicker than a normal minestrone (someone say that you should be able to eat it even in a flat dish), because of the bread and because of the beans purée, but it’s very tasty especially one day later (which is when it really deserves its name) and it’s a very healthy recipe, rich of nutrients, because a lot of fresh seasonal vegetables are used. It’s one of the countless vegan/vegetarian recipes of the regional Italian cuisine, recipes that people are eating since always without the need of any label, they are simply considered normal “very good recipes” of the everyday life 🙂
It’s a famous traditional recipe from Tuscany region, and its name means “re-boiled” (ri-bollita in Italian), because it was made in big amount and reboiled in the following days, and that’s when the flavors give their best and the bread inside give to the soup the right texture.
Traditionally, peasants prepared this recipe on Friday (the “lean” day) and then they re-warmed it also on the following days.
The slices of bread to use inside the soup must be from a good quality bread (ideally the saltless Tuscan bread), otherwise with industrial breads or poor quality breads made with many additives the final texture will be probably too much slimy.
*What I’m going to show is an “almost” Ribollita Toscana, because I should use also the Lacinato kale (cavolo nero), but here in Hungary I obviously cannot find it so I used more chard. But the soup is great too 🙂
As for all the traditional recipes there are countless versions, but what I do is based on the recipe written by Pellegrino Artusi in his famous cookbook “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene” (“The Science of Cooking and the Art of Fine dining”), a Bible of the modern Italian cuisine.
What’s following is a 100% vegan version, but to add even more flavour you can use also 100 g of pancetta.
INGREDIENTS (6 people):
- Lacinato kale, a.k.a. Black cabbage (if you can find it)
- 1 head of mangold/chard
- half head of Savoy cabbage
- 300 g of dried beans (traditionally “cannellini” type, which are white, but also other types are fine)
- 1 potato
- 1 small white/golden onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 ribs of celery
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a little bit of chili (optional)
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- some fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons of triple tomato concentrate
- thyme (traditionally the “pepolino“, which is the wild thyme)
- freshly ground black pepper
- First of all soak the dried beans in abundant water for about 12 hours long.
- Then after this time take a cocotte/pot, put the beans and about 2,5 liters of cold water. Add also one clove of garlic and some leaves of fresh sage. Heat it up and count about one hour and half or more (depending on the beans) from the moment when the water reaches the boil. Add salt only after the first hour.
- Meanwhile take another pot (better if an earthenware pot) and heat the extra virgin olive oil. Then chop the parsley and the peeled onion into small pieces and add it in the hot oil, and after few minutes add also the carrots and the celery ribs, also peeled and chopped small, and the 2 minced cloves of garlic. Add also some chili if you would like. Let is simmer for at least 20 minutes at low heat, until soft.
- Then add first the Savoy cabbage, which you have previously cut into smaller slices, then add the chopped mangold/chard (and the Lacinato kale if you have it), and the potato which you have cut into dices. Cover with the boiling water of the beans and let it simmer for at least 45-60 minutes. Add also some thyme.
- After this time also the beans should be ready: take an immersion blender and reduce about 2/3 of them into a cream/purée, then pour it into the soup. Add also the tomato concentrate (diluted in some hot beans water), mix well and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. Add also some freshly ground black pepper and control if it’s salted enough.
- Then add the remaining beans and cook it for another 15-20 minutes about.
- Now take a soup bowl and make layers of stale/toasted slices of bread (but not too many) and soup.
- You can eat it already now (and it’s just a bread soup in this case), but the real Ribollita will be ready on the day after, when you re-boil the soup 🙂 as I said the re-boiling step is important to reach the correct texture, indeed this step will remove the humidity in excess making the recipe creamy but not soupy. Moreover the flavours will be perfectly merged together. This photo I think it’s quite clear 🙂
- Serve it with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, some extra black pepper if you would like and some more thyme. Someone like to add also some little sliced raw purple onion on the top. Parmigiano Reggiano it’s not needed in my opinion.
PS: it’s gonna be great on the 3rd day too 😉